Setting Brushfires 11-08-2019: When Modeling Turns Into Sex Trafficking – With Author Deanna Lynn
Sex trafficking has taken front and center in our country since President Donald Trump took office and even more recently with the NXIVM sex cult and Jeffrey Epstein, the dark underbelly has begun to come to the light. Author Deanna Lynn experienced first hand what it was like to become involved in it. She joins me on this episode of Setting Brushfires to tell her story and how she escaped the slavery of sex trafficking.
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Pick up Deanna’s book Purchased: Leaving the Sex Trade
From The Description
We live in a culture increasingly influenced by porn. Sex is used to sell everything, from household products to cars to electronics. Provocative and popular fiction like 50 Shades of Gray is encouraging people to play with a fire that could destroy their homes. We supposedly stand against sex trafficking, and then we turn around and increase the demand through our music, clothing, and movie choices. These decisions to entertain ourselves with increasing shock factor reveal that most audiences are currently numb to the publicizing and proliferation of what was once deemed private. Amidst this sex-satiated culture, I want to give a realistic view of the life of someone who once allowed herself to be sold. In sharing my own story and journey into and out of the sex industry, I want to educate others in a way that encourages us to stop buying sex in all forms and instead to honor one another as whole people. I want to encourage us to consider the woman who has been made a sex symbol so that we learn to honor both who she was before and who she might become if given an opportunity to succeed in a life outside of selling her body. I have encountered many men and women who were put into this life by their pimps and boyfriends. Others entered it while trying to escape their own trauma and trying to gain some control or dignity in their own lives. Yet others truly believe they can do nothing else. I want to offer you a glimpse of the mentality of a young girl who thought this was her best option in life. As a woman who was once purchased, I am often placed into one of two categories: I am either victimized as a survivor of human trafficking, or my trauma is dismissed since I chose to enter the commercial sex industry. This is an unhelpful and extreme distinction—especially when some of those fighting to end trafficking are also those who justify their use of pornography, brothels, strip clubs, and escort services because they believe all these women choose to be there. Choice is not always a simple matter when it is derived from decades of compounding trauma, addictions, and lack of quality guidance. For this reason, I want to show you what life looks like when a person says yes to being sold. This book is not meant to leave readers in despair but rather to depict enough of my own journey through deception to invite appreciation of the freedom possible with complete surrender. I want to show how hope gives birth to new life, when a true chance to heal and opportunities to flourish are given. No one is too far gone. However, no one can complete the journey in isolation. In this sense, I hope my story can also aid those who want to mentor other women on their journeys of healing and redemption. My desire is that the full presentation of my background—and the way it fed into my choices—can help offer understanding about the many layers of hurt that are present for women leaving the sex industry. More than the woman’s body has been wounded, and many memories that stretch much further back than her start in the industry will need to be opened up and healed. Freedom does take work. But it is and infinitely good and worthwhile work. I personally engaged in my deepest healing efforts at the Refuge for Women in Kentucky. And there, I discovered a place to be truly safe for the first time in my life. I remember lying in my bed each night and saying to myself, “I am safe. I am loved. I am secure.” Because of the hard work I did there, I can still say and mean those words today, many years later. If you are called to help a woman walk this road, please let my story invite you into awareness of the layers involved in both her hurt and her healing. And whether you read this story as a mentor or a mentee, let it encourage you of the good and the freedom yet in store. Ultimately, I hold to the unshakable belief that there here is hope and help for everyone. I hope my story confirms this for you.
Deanna wanted to model or become an actress. She basically wanted to do anything where someone would notice her. Growing up with an alcoholic and suicidal mom who used sex as a weapon for manipulation, she learned early on the extreme ways it would take to be noticed and perhaps one day even be loved. She entered into statewide bikini competitions and modeled lingerie in local restaurants and that’s where she met him.
At 18 years old and already an addict and alcoholic, a man sat at a table in the restaurant with free shots of alcohol and asked if she wanted to model for local ads. Only within weeks, more alcohol and drugs were being provided, more money was being offered, and she was asked how far she would go to maintain this life. It wasn’t long before he put her up in a hotel and sent one person after another every half an hour into her room. She reached a point where she would shove her head into a pillow and cry, as they continued with what they came for. Some nights she would lock them out and hide until they would go away.
Getting caught up in the drug scene and with the wrong side of the law, she was offered a way out. A way to do what she was already doing, but this man said he will now make her a star. Having no dignity or self-worth anymore, this seemed the logical next step. He sent to her to California to perform in porn movies and magazines. She was already familiar with porn because her mom would show her the movies her parents watched when she was 5 years old. Deanna knew in first grade that she would grow up to be just like those girls her mom showed her. Now was her chance to make a name for herself. However, she ended up on more drugs, in hospitals from the physical damage from the intensity, and taking antibiotics regularly to counteract the diseases being passed around. She still thought well maybe this it. “This is how I will become known.”
Most girls think, I will just do a few movies and get out. Pay for college, buy a car, get noticed for a while. Well, Deanna spent ten years trying to make her way back out, with the attention being more addictive than the drugs. A few performances turned into hundreds. She became noticed alright. She was followed in her poor decisions, stalked at shows and at work, and even the parts of her life she wanted to protect to this day still get exposed. She saw porn take a man from his family in Georgia to her office in California only to find out his addiction ran so deep that he committed suicide in front of his wife who asked him to unplug the computers. The sex industry told her she was in too far, she would never be able to do anything else with her life. She saw many people leave and come back reinforcing this lie.
Deanna is glad to say it was just that. It was a lie. She began to seek the truth and the truth set her free. She is thirteen years sober, nine years removed from the sex industry, and is married to a wonderful man she met at seminary. She graduated with her master’s degree from Asbury Theological Seminary and is working towards her Doctor of Ministry requirements. She is happy to share with others the decisions that gave her life. Decisions she made that seem unnatural to the flesh and counterintuitive to how she was raised both as a child and as someone brainwashed by the industry. Those intentional decisions are what keep her free.
Deanna has recently published her book, Purchased: Leaving the Sex Trade. In a world that speaks out against human trafficking and excuses buying and selling those who are there by choice, this book will uncover the detailed life of a girl who allowed herself to be sold. Choice is not a simple matter when the choice is derived from decades of compounding trauma and addictions. She hopes to educate culture in a way that encourages us to stop buying sex in all forms and to instead honor one another as a whole being. This is not an easy read, but it’s an honest one that depicts chaos that leads to selling one’s self. If there is hope for her, no one is too far gone.
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